Case Number 12644


Synapse // 1988 // 84 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 21st, 2007

The Charge

Live for one night only...that's all they'll ever need.

Opening Statement

You can never have too many Satanic heavy metal horror movies. Black Roses will rock you so hard your goldfish will feel it!

Facts of the Case

The small town of Mill Basin has had its delicate social balance upset with the news that the Black Roses, the hottest metal band in the country, is coming to kick off its national tour in the town's high school gym. Parents and municipal officials are fidgety, but the teens are delirious with excitement.

Caught in the middle is Matt Moorhouse (John Martin), the popular high school English teacher. He has some misgivings about the Roses and its flashy lead singer Damian (Sal Viviano) and thinks the band's intentions are questionable.

His instincts prove to be correct. The town's youth go crazy, murder their parents and generally develop anti-social behaviors. Turns out Black Roses is a metal band from Hell, headlined by a full-on Satan-spawn, which infects its listeners with demon possession. The challenge of eradicating this evil from the town will fall to Matt who will be forced to call upon all the powers of his fantastic moustache to drive the Devil out.

The Evidence

The perfect companion piece to the far-out classic Rock 'n Roll Nightmare (made by the same director), Black Roses is mega-fun. Sporting atrocious acting, the worst movie score I've ever heard, bodacious creature effects, gratuitous, anonymous breast shots and a hefty helping of gore, this moronic metal masterpiece is a great gift idea for the cheesy horror movie-lover in your family.

Let's take a closer look at what makes Black Roses so awesome:

Matt Moorhouse: English Teacher of Death
This guy is great. Not only does he enjoy a semi-creepy relationship with one of his perky blonde students, he has the entire town eating out of the palm of his hand. The people of Mill Basin treat this out-of-work-porn-star-looking English teacher as the town hero and for good reason: the dude can battle demons! Well, more like short, squat demons in unwieldy rubber costumes that don't know enough to run away from the gasoline-soaked stage and the crazy dude holding the flare. But how many @#$%&*$# demons have you battled recently?!

High School Students That Look 30
I know this is low-hanging fruit, but you really should see some of the "kids." My favorite: the main rebel guy, clad in denim who whines throughout the whole film before escalating his acting out from setting fire to a paint can to blowing his dad's brains out. This is not hyperbole: the dude looks like he's 35. Ironically, the high school has a playground so now I'm really confused.

Rubber Monsters!
These things are great. The first appearance of one the demon creatures is surreal: an irritated father (Vincent Pastore!), tries to turn off the Black Roses record, but is attacked by a cross between a cockroach a praying mantis and Grover, which leaps out of a sound speaker, bites Pastore in the head, and sucks him in through the woofer. Things only get crazier from their, culminating on Damian's transformation into an expatriate from Toho studios.

That's only a taste of the greatness to be found on this disc. Black Roses is about as fun as cheesy horror movies come, and will no doubt provide much amusement for you and your inebriated dorm pals. If the idea of a heavy metal band turning idiot kids that look like retail middle management into demon-possessed killing machines made of rubber sounds even remotely interesting to you, then do yourself a favor and rock out with the Black Roses

Synapse does this disc proud, offering a slick-looking 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer mastered from the original negative. The picture quality is very good overall, with only the giant coiffures betraying the film's age. A 2.0 stereo mix serves the sound well, but crap in a cauldron does that score suck! The best of the extras is a fun, self-deprecating commentary from director John Fasano, writer Cindy Sorrell and star Carla Ferrigno. Trailers and audition tape excerpt remain.

Closing Statement

Black Roses rocks. That is all.

The Verdict

Not guilty. (guitar riff)

Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 95
Audio: 85
Extras: 80
Acting: 90
Story: 60
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile
Studio: Synapse
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Audio commentary
* Audition footage

* IMDb